NUS represents the voice of 7 million students in the UK, and 80% of them say they want their institutions to be doing more on sustainability. That's why working towards a low-carbon, circular economy is such an important part of what NUS does. With behaviour change programs like Green Impact and Student Switch Off, and mass student engagement driven by our £5m Students' Green Fund, NUS is making sure students gain the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in our emerging low carbon economy. We help students' unions to become hubs of sustainability at the heart of their wider communities, and we work to ensure that all graduates are part of the solution to our environmental challenges, not part of the problem. Because a more sustainable future is so important to students, it's crucial to society too – so we embed sustainability into all aspects of our operations, including our workplaces. When NUS moved into a new office building in London last year, we were presented with a blank canvas. We felt passionate about capitalising on the opportunity to create one of the most sustainable office spaces in the country.
Some of the measures which we put into place are genuine innovations. Obviously, we were concerned about the amount of energy wastage which lighting can generate in an office building. That's why NUS worked with Philips to develop the pay-per-lux scheme, where saving energy creates financial benefits for both parties.
NUS doesn't own the lighting fixtures. We rent them from Philips, and pay a flat rate for our lighting. If we go over our expected energy usage, we get cash back from Philips. This creates a financial incentive for Philips to provide NUS' new office with the most energy-efficient service possible, while we're granted the stability of a predictable, fixed price over fifteen years.
Consumers usually pay a little up front, and get huge energy bills later. But we pay nothing now, and save money on energy. It's a radically new model. Too often, people think going green means higher costs and lower profits. This partnership will completely reverse that perception, and its success could mainstream a brand new way of procuring lighting.